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LOUIS I AN A 

STATE 

JN I VE RS II TY 

LII 1 RARY 



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Vol. 13 No. 3 

March, 1961 



Cottseruation 
pledge 

I give my 

pledge as an American 

\o save and faithfully to 

defend from waste the 

natural resources of 

my country — its soil 

and minerals, its 

forests, waters, 

and wildlife 



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Front Covers 

The keen-eurd vihl linl.,-,, is \iirli, 
A.neriras lariiesi :iauir hint <niil on.',- 
Iilinied II great role in supidiiiui; eiirlii 
srillers vilh food to rnrrii lliem throu.il: 
the irinirr unlit crnji harrrst the fid- 
l„,ri,i„ year. Traditionultn associated 
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idenliful as tin-,/ aerr llualnu.i tl,,-,„ 
rails far skill, patienee ....,/ a l.aoale,l,ie 
of the bird's habits. 

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JIMMIE H. DAVIS 

Goi'ernoj- 




''^%\ L. D. YOUNG, JR. 

Director 



Sitbscripfioti Fnc to Louisiana Residents 
Ujtoii Written Request 

STEVE HARMON. Editor 



LOUISIANA WILD LIFE AND FISHERIES 
COMMISSION 

E. R. McDonald, Sr., chairman Newellton 

RAY WILA.TLEY. Vicc-Chairman Alexandria 

JOHN PAUL CRALX Grand Chenier 

JOHN CUTRONE Morgan City 

WILLIAM S. DENTON Houma 

L. RICHARD FLEMING Shreveport 

JAMES J. FREY Lafavette 



DIVISION CHIEFS 



ELLIS C. IRWIN 
STEVE HARMON 

Chief. Education & Publicity 

RUDOLPH P. E.A.STERLY 

Chief. Law Enforcement 

JOHN D. NEWSOM 

Chief. Fish and Game 



JAMES N. McCONNELL 

r. Oysters. Water Bottoms and Seafo.i.) 

RICHARD YANCEY 

ssistant Director and Acting Chief. 
Refuge Division 

TED O'NEIL 

Chief. Fur Division 

KENNETH E. BIGLANE 

Chief. Water Pollution Control 




FEDERAL AID SECTION 



JOHN NEWSOM 

mnn-Robenson Coordina 



HARRY SCHAFER 

Dingell-Johnson Coordinato 



Permission to reprint material in tliis publication will be granted provided that it 
is not used for ndvertisinjr or commercial purposes and provided that projier credit 
is given. Contributions and photographs are welcon-.e. but Loulsiaxa Coxsekvation- 
IST cannot be responsible for loss or damage to unsolicited material. Manuscripts 
should be addressed to Editor. Loi'isiANA Conservationlst. Wild Life & Fisheries 
Building. 400 Royal St.. New Orleans 16. La. 

Entered as second class mail matter August 21, 1047, at the Post 
Office at New Orleans, La., under the act of August 24, 1912. 



EDITORIAL 





THE WILD LIFE and Fisheries Commission, 
like a private corporation, is composed of 
various organization groups. These groups 
are known by many titles. In our Commission we 
call them divisions. We operate the commission 
through seven such divisions. They are: Educa- 
tion and Publicity; Enforcement: Fish and Game: 
Oysters, Water Bottoms and Seafoods; Refuge; 
Fur, and Water Pollution Control. 

To effect a more 
complete working 
organization, these 
divisions are di- 
vided into sections 
and from these 
sections we have 
established eight 
supervisory d i s- 
tricts throughout 
the state. Each 
district is respon- 
sible for Wild Life 
and Fisheries pro- 
grams in a given 
number of parishes. 

In this issue we will discuss functions of the 
Education and Publicity division and the En- 
forcement division. The other divisions will be 
reported in future issues. 

The Education and Publicity division is the 
clearing house of the commission. From the 
information section the commission's activities, 
rules and regulations aimed primarily at the 
good management of Louisiana's wildlife re- 
sources, are passed on to the public through the 
daily and weekly press, through the radio and 
television stations, and through the LOUISIANA 
CONSERVATIONIST, official publication of the 
Wild Life and Fisheries Commission. The infor- 
mation section also acts as a clearing house for 
speakers whose subject ties in with the conserva- 
tion of our wildlife resources. It is here that we 
feel a closer relationship with the general public 
through personal contact. 



L. D. YOUNG, JR. 

Director 



The commission is fortunate in having a num- 
ber of excellent speakers, who are considered ex- 
perts in their field. Although, most of our division 
and section heads are already over-worked, sel- 
dom will one of them turn down an opportunity 
to "speak his piece" on sound game management 
practices, or other subjects related to the wise 
use of our wildlife resources. 

The Education section supervises the wildlife 
museum, which was dedicated recently, and wild- 
life education in schools program, which we hope 
will begin in our state schools at an early date. 
It is, through this program, that we base our 
hope for the future of wildlife resources in Lou- 
isiana. In the projected set-up, we expect to have 
an education assistant in each of our eight dis- 
trict offices. These education specialists will be 
equipped with tools of the trade — lectures on 
wildlife resources, projection machines and wild- 
life resource films, portable wildlife exhibits and 
resource bulletins and pamphlets. 

The division that represents the commission 
on the local level is Enforcement. It is here that 
the public comes in direct contact with your 
wildlife agency. And I might add here that I'd 
stack our group of enforcement officers up 
against any in the country. 

\\'ith this new jet age of motorboats, pleasure 
boating, water sports and other recreation on our 
lakes, streams and rivers, enforcement takes on 
newer responsibilities. In addition to enforcing 
the Louisiana Motorboat Act, our agents are 
finding it harder and harder to cope with the 
fish shocking violators and the migratory bird 
act violators because of the jet-type motors now 
propelling boats operated by a small minority of 
our people who have no respect for law and order 
in any sense. To offset this, we are compelled to 
purchase larger boats and motors of greater 
horsepower. And we expect to make even greater 
use of our planes in an effort to bring to justice 
any and all violators of our fish and game laws — 
and that includes shrimp violators, oyster vio- 
lators and stream pollution violators. 



IN THIS ISSUE 



Industry and Recreation 2 

Mudbug Farming 5 

Flyway Group Meets 8 

National Wildlife Week 10 



Wildlife in Louisiana 12 

Louisiana Marshes Film 15 

Down and Out Fishing 16 

Bird of the Month Inside Back Cover 




Louisiana's geographical location and diver- 
sified terrain, varying from hardwood tim- 
ber stands, swamp bottoms and velvet-green 
pine lands to gold and green marshes, provides 
possibly the greatest outdoor recreational oppor- 
tunities of any state in the country. 

This unusual combination of fields, forests and 
marshes — laced together by thousands of miles 
of rivers, lakes, bays and bayous — provides un- 
limited and diversified hunting, fishing and boat- 
ing. 

The southern reaches of the state, fronting on 
the Gulf of Mexico, are gateways to sport fish- 
ing challenging any offered by other states. In 
the interior of the state, sportsmen find top fresh 
water fishing sport. Hunting is enjoyed, in sea- 
son, throughout the state. Hunting seasons gen- 
erally extend for a total of five months in the 
year, beginning as early as September 1, and end- 
ing as late as early February. 



This unique and varied expanse of land, forest, 
fresh and salt water, fringed by coastal marshes, 
is also a prime example of how industry and rec- 
reation go hand in hand. 

The wooded areas, that provide game and game 
birds of many species, also provide timber for 
lumber and pulp mill products. 

The southern parishes (counties) produce the 
bulk of the country's furbearing animals — more 
commercial pelts than all of the provinces of Can- 
ada. Contrary to popular opinion ; this is factual, 
and primarily due to muskrat and nutria produc- 
tion in the state's 4,000.000 sprawling acres of 
marshes. 

Along with muskrat and nutria; mink, raccoon, 
opossum, otter, skunk, fox and cat pelts swell the 
aggregate fur take to a multi-million dollar fig- 
ure. Louisiana alligator hides bring premium 
prices in domestic and world markets. 

Beneath the waving, sealike expanse of varied 



Lilllisiana CONSERVATIONIST 



marsh grasses is uncounted hidden wealth in the 
form of salt, sulphur, oil and natural gas. Along 
with a bountiful supply of fresh water, these are 
the principal ingredients for a petrochemical in- 
dustry still in its infancy, but a billion dollar 
child." 

As a sportsmen's paradise; the bayous, lakes 
and bays spread over this underground wealth 
teem with both commercial and sport fish. The 
passes of the mighty Mississippi River are jump- 
ing-off spots for big game fish ranging from slim, 
streamlined sailfish to heavy-weight blue marlin. 
Bull dolphin, tuna, king mackerel, wahoo and tar- 
pon are plentiful ; along with the smaller but 
none-the-less popular game fish. 

Offshore drilling rigs and platforms built by 
the oil companies have changed the migratory 
patterns of many fish. Relatively recent newcom- 
ers include giant jewfish, spadefish, barracuda, 
and the ever-popular and highly desired pompano. 

The rush to find oil, in years past, resulted in 
some appreciable damage to the coastal marshes, 
but the scars and salt water intrusion are being 
corrected through sound conservation measures. 

Probably no other area of the country is more 
bountifully blessed with almost limitless water, 
land, and marsh resources conducive to both in- 
dustrial progress and outdoor recreation. 

Each area of the state is distinguished by di- 
versified terrain and accompanying opportunities 
for recreation based upon the nature of the ter- 
rain. 

One good example of this unsurpassed recrea- 
tion is seen in the annual migration of ducks, 
geese and other waterfowl to Louisiana. Located 
at the tip of the Mississippi flyway, Louisiana 
can be likened to a target area for millions of 
feathered migrants. Pouring down the vast Mis- 
sissippi flyway, the winter travelers are con- 
stricted into a tight pattern in Arkansas, choked 
to cylinder bore, and the load is scattered all over 
the state. 

Louisiana is a leader in many respects, in com- 
mercial, industrial and recreational attractions. 

From the standpoint of the commercial fisher- 
men and sportsmen, Louisiana's fish and game 
are in the topmost ranks of the state's natural 
resources. 

Figures assembled by the Louisiana Wild Life 
and Fisheries Commission, trustees of these vast 
resources, reveal that the state's commercial fish- 
eries industry represents an estimated outlay in 
equipment of $85,000,000 and employs directly 
over 37,000 persons. 

The overall picture embracing allied industries 
connected with commercial fisheries operations 
shows a value of around $266,000,000 invested in 
equipment alone. This figure is steadily growing, 
and the total number of persons associated 
directly or indirectly with the industry is well 
over 304,000. 

One of the most valuable segments of the 
fisheries industry is the annual shrimp crop. The 
broad network of bays, bayous and lakes serve 
as nursery grounds. Sound conservation laws to- 
day govern the harvesting of shrimp in both in- 



side and outside waters. Combined efforts of 
commercial and sporting interests, spearheaded 
by the Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Com- 
mission, have brought the annual shrimp-take 
back up from a low peak reached just before the 
1958 Legislature passed the present laws govern- 
ing trawling and closed seasons. Indications are 
that the final tally for 1960 will .show Louisiana 
back in first place, a position which the state 
rightfully held for many years and will again 
regain. 

Louisiana shrimp are known throughout 
national and international marketing sources for 
both quality and size. 

During the open seasons, sportsmen also har- 
vest a generous share of shrimp which are used 
as bait in salt water fishing, and for home con- 
sumption. This is another example of how in- 
dustry and recreation move hand in hand in shar- 
ing Louisiana's natural resources. 

Thirty years ago, shrimp, as a table dish, were 
a comparative rarity in many parts of the coun- 
ti'y, and were served only in areas where they 
were taken. Today, as a result of the development 
of refrigeration, freezing, new methods of har- 
vesting, canning, bulk packaging and progi'essive 
knowledge of preserving techniques, Louisiana 
shrimp are reaching all national markets and 
finding their way into select world markets. Over 
3,500 trawl boats, both large and small, ply Lou- 
isiana's inside and outside waters in their re- 
spective seasons ; to harvest the sea and meet the 
growing demand for Louisiana shrimp. 

There are about sixty-five boats in Louisiana's 
comparatively new menhaden industry, one 
which produces oil and meal at an estimated 
present value of $20,000,000. Netting methods are 
scientifically geared to the present. Vessels used 
in the menhaden industry average approximate- 
ly 100 feet in length. Airplanes are used to spot 
schools of menhaden and to direct operations for 
the fishing fleets of four large and growing men- 
haden firms ah'eady operating in Louisiana. 

State waters yield thousands of tons of sea- 
food of a large variety and superior quality. The 
salt water fishing industry alone is worth more 
than $5,000,000 annually, with the catch includ- 
ing speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, croaker, 
red snapper, mackerel, flounder, mullet and drum 
— all sporting fish that are eagerly sought by 
sportsmen and their families who share in the 
huge annual commercial and recreational fish 
harvest of Louisiana waters. 

The commercial fishermen also supply sea tur- 
tles, their flesh being used in the preparation of 
Louisiana turtle soup, the recipe being almost as 
famous as that of Louisiana crab gumbo. Both 
commercial interests and tens of thousands of 
pleasure-bent state residents have made crabbing 
a valuable state industry on one hand and a 
wholesome family sport on the other. 

Fresh water fisheries include commercial fish 
crops that top the $100,000 annual mark. These 
commercial catches include gaspergou. spoonbill 



March, 1961 



catfish, garfish and pet turtles. The fresh water 
commercial take of turtles, also highly-prized on 
the table, runs over 150,000 pounds valued at 
slightly over $50,000. 

Industry and sport hops along to both dollars 
and pleasure in the form of frog legs. The Louisi- 
ana harvest of the nocturnal croakers reaches the 
nation's tables in an annual "crop" of approxi- 
mately 125,000 pounds of astronomical delight. 
It would be impossible to estimate the catch made 
by sportsmen who lose little time in popping the 
night's catch into frying pans for home consump- 
tion. 

Another broad and promising vista opened to 
Louisiana sport and commercial fishermen with 
the discovery of vast schools of tuna in the Gulf 
of Mexico. As exploratory work of the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service was followed up by the Lou- 
isiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission and, 
later, by the sportsmen of Louisiana; it became 
evident that another source of industry accom- 
panied by kindred recreation was destined to be 
opened. 

Insofar as tuna are concerned, trial packs have 
proved the Gulf tuna are equal, if not a little 
better, in flavor and texture than those of the 
West Coast. 

Research established that these fish breed in 
the Gulf and hundreds of tuna taken during re- 
search operations were found to contain ripened 
roe. 

It was this initial research that revealed the 
presence of numbers of white marlin, blue mar- 
lin, mako sharks, giant bull dolphin and elusive, 
highly-popular wahoo. 

Along with other commercial fisheries opera- 
tions is the Louisiana oyster industry — one that 
provides the nation's finest oysters. It is a unique 
combination of both fresh and salt water mingled 
by Louisiana's geographical location that pro- 
duces a flavor not found in oysters from any 
other state. 

The petrochemical industry mentioned, while 
in its multi-million dollar infancy, was given an- 
other boost in late November with the announce- 
ment that a new petrochemical company would 
erect a $50,000,000 plant on 850 acres of land in 
Ascension Parish. 

Louisiana is keeping a stride of its industrial 
growth by preserving its forests, restoring many 
marshes, dedicating vast acreages to public hunt- 
ing, and constantly maintaining scientific re- 
search and conservation projects that will assure 
recreational outdoor sport for generations to 
come; and to attract visitors and their tourist 
dollars spent on outdoor recreation to Louisiana. 

In this work, Louisiana is fortunate to have 
the full cooperation of the majority of indus- 
tries utilizing the resources that are so plentiful 
and so necessary for the extended harvesting 
and annual repletion of fish and wildlife, includ- 
ing habitat for migratory waterfowl and migra- 
toiy game birds. 

Outstanding examples of public hunting areas 



and game management areas in Louisiana are 
the 65,000-acre Pass-a-Loutre Public Shooting 
Grounds near the mouth of the Mississippi River; 
the 115.000-acre Chicago Mill Game Management 
Area: G4,000 acres of the Fort Polk Military Re- 
servation, licensed to the Louisiana Wild Life and 
Fisheries Commission; Evangeline, Catahoula, 
Red Dirt and Sabine Management Areas; and 
many other areas in all parts of the state where 
conservation practices move apace of growing 
and expanding industry. 

A few of these other areas are the Union 
Parish Game Management Area, the West Bay 
Game Management Area, the Jackson-Bienville 
and Evangeline Parish Game Management Areas. 

Unlike some states where industry is detri- 
mental to outdoor recreation, Louisiana is fortu- 
nate that industry and conservation move forward 
in step, each aiding in the progress of the other. 

It is clear that under the policies of State 
agencies today, industry is being constantly at- 
tracted to Louisiana and that the economic bene- 
fits of expanded industry are also paced by 
greater efforts to preserve and expand existing 
industries and outdoor recreation founded upon 
the vast forest, mineral and aquatic resources 
with which Louisiana has been singular since 
the early days settlement. + 

Crawfish Recipes 

Breaux Bridge Style — Etouffe 

30 lbs. live crawfish onion tops parsley 

Vi. cup oil i -2 sweet pepper 

5 medium onions 

Wash and cull crawfish. To approximately 10 
gal. of boiling water add crawfish and scald for 
5 minutes or until half cooked. (This is very im- 
portant, because they will break up and become 
mealy when cooking if they are not scalded long 
enough.) Cool and peel at once, separating the fat 
from the tails. 

Heat cooking oil in pot and add minced onions 
and saute. Add crawfish fat and cook over low 
heat stirring constantly until fat comes to the 
top. Add tails and sweet pepper and season to 
taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add parsley and 
onion tops and serve. Serves approximately 8 
people. 

Boiled Crawfish 

40 lbs. live crawfish 3 stalks celery 

2 bxs. of salt (1 lb. 10 3 lemons 
oz. size) 6 medium size onions 

1 bottle red pepi:)er (2 1 gallon water 
oz. size) 1 15 gal. can with tight 

fitting cover. 
To the gallon of water add salt and red pepper. 
Cut celery into .small pieces and add. Slice lemons 
and onions and add. Using the largest burner pos- 
sible, bring this mixture to a boil. Then add the 
crawfish. When steam appears around the edges 
of the cover begin to time and cook for 5 minutes. 
Drain water immediately after. Crawfish are then 
ready. Feeds approximately 6 or 7 people. + 



Louisiana Conservationist 



Crawfish Culture 

MUDBUG 
FARMING 

Percy Viosca, Jr. 



THE CULTIVATION of crawfish in man-made 
impoundments seems destined to gi'ow by 
leaps and bounds into one of Louisiana's 
leading agricultural industries, judging by the 
success of several pioneers in this field. 

In the spring of 1960, the writer visited some 
16 "crawfish farms" located mostly west of the 
Atchafalaya floodway. Many of these "farmers" 
were dabbling in crawfish cultivation on a trial 
and error basis without scientific guidance and 
without knowledge of the intimate facts in the 
life of the crawfish upon which scientific culti- 
vation must be based. 

During the 1959-60 crawfish season, these pio- 
neer projects already comprised over 2,000 acres, 
with a production potential of as much as two 
million pounds of the tasty crustaceans annually. 
Some of the persons engaged in the new enter- 
prise on a trial and error basis were already fac- 
ing difficulties and were glad to have these 
straightened out by consultation with the writer. 
A number of them had hit upon right answers, 
sometimes by accident, but usually by close ob- 
servation of crawfish in their natural environ- 
ment. Most of the latter were glad to learn the 
whys and wherefores of their successes. 

The knowledge of successes spread more rap- 
idly than that of the failures, and numbers of 
new farms were constructed during the summer 
of 1960, with a vastly increased acreage devoted 
to crawfish culture. Whenever I learned of the 
location of a proposed farm, I contacted the own- 
ers and advised them of the pitfalls that must 
be avoided in an undertaking of this kind. For 
example, in some cases there were too many fish 
in the crawfish ponds or in the irrigation ditches, 
and I was able to show the farmers how to get 
rid of these fish by the use of a fish poison 
which is harmless to cattle and other livestock. 
In other cases, the farmers were advised to draw 
the water off their ponds on or about July 1, so 










The red swamp crawfish, (procambarus clarkii), 
one of two large species suitable for crawfish cul- 
ture. 

that the crawfish could dig holes in which to de- 
velop and protect their eggs until hatching time. 

Some of the farmers were rearing crawfish as 
their main crop and managing their impound- 
ments either solely for this purpose, or with the 
possibility of developing secondary crops of bull- 
frogs and turtles. Some projects were original- 
ly constructed as hunting preserves for attracting 
wild ducks during the fall migration, but craw- 
fish crops developed quite by accident and seem 
de.stined to more than foot the bill. Other pio- 
neers were raising crawfish in rice fields, some 
in rotation with rice. One impoundment was 
made in a swamp for the purpose of floating out 
the harvestable timber, and the crawfish crops 
developed as an incidental by-product. 

Existing crawfish farms already cover a great 
variety of terrain. Some are in alluvial lands 
where both front lands and back lands, or a 
combination of the two, are utilized. A number 
are in the prairie soils of southwestern Louisi- 
ana. The latter are mainly of two types, irriga- 
tion reservoirs and rice fields proper. Some are 
in drained wooded swamp, others in so-called re- 
claimed marshland, dead end products of the 
drainage craze, which have been waiting for real 
estate agents who never showed up. Crawfish 
culture may salvage many of these lost acres. 

Some of the rice field projects point to the 
intriguing possibility that rice culture may be 
revolutionized by rotation with crawfish. One 
may be complimentary to the other, crawfish be- 
ing a winter crop and rice a summer crop. Full 
credit for this last development must be given to 
one \'oohies Trahan, a full-blooded Cajun whose 
rice fields are located five miles south of Du- 
son, Louisiana. Although Trahan has had no 
formal education whatsoever and does not know 
how to read or write, he is a keen observer of 
things biological. Starting in a small way. twelve 
years ago, Trahan has been producing crawfish 



March, 1961 




Gravel filter box 



on an increasing scale each succeeding year. Not 
only does he get a royalty of 10 cents per pound 
for his crawfish (all he has to do is to weigh 
them), but the value of his rice crop has been 
enhanced tremendously by rotating with craw- 
fish. 

Before using crawfish, Trahan netted $30.00 
per acre per year for his rice, with crawfish he 
is netting $90.00 per acre per year for the rice 
alone. With crawfish, there is no need to let the 
rice fields lie fallow. They can produce a rice 
crop as well as a crawfish crop every year, and 
the rice is of the best quality, with no intermix- 
ture of red rice or other weed seeds. 

Besides the facts gathered at various private 
crawfish farms, observations made at the state 
pilot farm near Henderson have also been very 
helpful, supplementing knowledge previously 
gathered by the writer from field and laboratory 
studies over a period of many years. 

As this commission has been receiving daily re- 
quests for information relative to crawfish cul- 
ture, we submit herewith a series of "Hints to 
Prospective Crawfish Farmers." While not the 
last word on the subject, we hope these hints 
will provide short cuts to success and enable be- 
ginners to avoid some of the pitfalls that might 
be encountered without some measure of scien- 
tific guidance. 

Kinds of Crawfish to Rear 

The red swamp crawfish (Procambarus 
claykii) and the white river crawfish (Procam- 
barus blandincjii) are two large species which 
have been reared successfully in captivity for 
commercial markets. Smaller species can be reared 
for use as bait. 

Soil Must be Waler-Tight 

The soil must be capable of holding water at 
all seasons of the year. Although the impound- 
ments will be dry during the draw-down period 
(see below), there must be water in the holes 
which the crawfish dig to protect themselves and 
their eggs during the summer months. 

Water Supply 

Any source of water not heavily laden with 
objectionable minerals is suitable. It can come 



from wells, lakes or streams. Some artesian and 
well waters are too heavily charged with iron, 
bicarbonate of soda, or other natural chemicals, 
and these will be found to be unsuited to craw- 
fish culture. Common salt (sodium chloride) is 
not objectionable and in moderate amounts is 
really beneficial. Water containing lime in the 
form of calcium bicarbonate is especially desir- 
able, but if not present, lime can be added (see 
fertilizer) . 

Location of Intake Pipe 

It is best to place the intake pipe near the 
bottom of a lake, bayou or canal, because bottom 
water is always richer in fertilizer values, 
especially phosphorous. 

Screening of Intake Pipe 

All intake pipes must be suitably screened to 
prevent entry of fish and other aquatic animals 
which might feed on crawfish or compete for 
their food supply. (See accompanying diagrams 
for intake screen and gravel filter box.) 

No Overflow Necessary 

An overflow is not only unnecessarj' but actu- 
ally undesirable, because valuable fertilizer ele- 
ments can be lost with the escaping water. In 
pond culture, it is only necessary to replace the 
water lost by seepage, evaporation, and that used 
up by trees or other plants whose foliage projects 
above the water surface (transpiration). A 
wooded pond requires much more water than one 
without trees. 

Specifications for Levees 

Levees with a vertical height of three feet are 
ample for crawfish culture. The best specifica- 
tions call for a two-foot crown, a three to one 
slope on the wet side (pond side), and a two to 
one slope on the dry side (outer side). Specifica- 
tions for such a levee will be as follows : height, 
three feet; crown, two feet; base 17 feet; section, 
28.5 square feet; volume of soil per each 100 
lineal feet, 105.5 cubic yards. 

Depth of Water 

Generally speaking, the deeper the water, the 





The white river crawfish, (procambarus blandingii), 
suitable for commercial culture. 

larger the crawfish will grow before attaining 
maturity. Two to 2 1/2 feet of water is ample, but 
crawfish can be reared in water as shallow as six 
inches. 

Irrigation Period 

If water is available, crawfish will come out of 
their holes about October 1 to rear and scatter 
their young. Any delay after that date will delay 
the early crop the following spring, and this crop 
is the most valuable. Depending upon pump ca- 
pacity and area to be irrigated, pumps can be 
started any time after September 15 so that there 
will be some water in the ponds by October 1, 
about the time of the first cool snap. Shallow 
water encourages raccoons, ibises (becroche), 
herons, and other animals which feed upon craw- 
fish. 

Adequate Drainage 

It is essential to drain a crawfish pond once a 
year to kill off fish and other natural enemies. 
During the draw-down period (see next para- 
graph), the crawfish will dig holes for the pro- 
tection of themselves, their eggs and/'or young. A 
few small fish will sometimes survive by hiding 
in the crawfish holes, but the crawfish population 
will predominate as well as have a head start. 
Draw-Down Period 

This period should be planned to accommodate 
the crawfish which like to dig their holes and 
go below ground on or about July 1. So this is 
the best time to drain the water down to mud 
level, and then it may be allowed to evaporate 
down to a few inches below the surface of the 
mud. 

Fertilizer 

Fertilizer requirements are the same as would 
be given by the county agent for raising any 
crop requiring a high calcium fertilizer in the 
same type of soil, eg., cabbage, cauliflower, 
brussels sprouts, etc. Very acid soils (eg., sections 
of the Florida Parishes) will also require liming 




Recreational crawfishing with baited nets is a fami- 
liar sign of spring in Louisiana. 

with perhaps a ton of lime per acre, but this 
should last for several years. Broken limestone or 
basic slag, the pieces being about a half-inch over- 
all, is excellent for maintaining the proper chemi- 
cal balance in acid soils for a period of years. 
Divide the fertilizer requirements for the given 
crop by 180 days (Oct. 1 to April 1) to get the 
average daily application per acre of water. 

Application of Fertilizer 

Fertilizer can be applied in one of several ways, 
whichever is most economical in a given in- 
stance. (1) Daily or weekly applications can be 
scattered from the shore, taking advantage of the 
direction of the wind. (2) Place the sacks of 
fertilizer on small tables or platforms placed in 
convenient locations and anchored so that the 
tops are about four inches below the water sur- 
face. (3) Place one sack on each table, cut it 
open with hatchet or knife, and let the wave 
wash dissolve and scatter it over the pond. (4) 
The best plan, however, is to scatter the ferti- 
lizer through the irrigation system. The cut open 
sacks can be placed in the gravel filter box and 
the pumps turned on as required. If applied week- 
ly, use seven times the daily application. Longer 
than weekly intervals are not recommended. 

Vegetation 

We are experimenting with various types of 
vegetation at the pilot crawfish farm, however, 
for the present, we recommend no aquatic plant 
life other than the algae and underwater growths 
which come naturally in the water without arti- 
ficial stocking. During the draw-down period 
(July 1 to September 1), land grasses and wild 
legumes will grow; or cow peas, lespedeza or 
other legumes can be planted over the area. These 
will die when the water level is raised on Septem- 
ber 1, and their tissues will furnish food for the 
coming crop of young crawfish. This will be sup- 

(Coutinued on Page 19) 



March, 1961 



Flyway Group Meets 

At Rockefeller 

Refuge 




McFaddcn Duffij 



APPROXIMATELY 65 MEMBERS of the technical 
section of the Mississippi Flyway council, 
along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife service 
personnel and prominent wildlife personnel from 
Canada, the Atlantic and Central Flyways, held 
their spring meeting February 14-16 at the 
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, as guests of the Lou- 
isiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission. 

The three-day meeting near Cameron, Louisi- 
ana, drew flyway council technical representa- 
tives from the 14 states comprising the Missis- 
sippi Flyway. It marked the first time that 
members of the council have met in Louisiana. 

In addition to committee reports, covering a 
wide range of subjects ranging from major mi- 
gration waves in the flyway, pollution and para- 
sites, to crop depredation and other problems con- 
nected with management of migratory waterfowl 
and migratory birds, representatives at the meet- 
ing discussed mutual problems, plans and pro- 
grams in which the flyway council is concerned. 

Highlights of the meeting included an orienta- 



Members of the technical section of the Mississippi 
flyway council are shown at Rockefeller Wildlife 
refuge main sate. 

tion talk about the Louisiana marshes and the 
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge by Richard Yancey, 
assistant director of the Louisiana Wild Life and 
Fisheries Commission ; and field trips into the 
refuge by marsh buggies and boats. 

Those attending made numerous aerial inspec- 
tions of the sprawling 85,000-acre wildlife refuge 
donated to the state by the Rockefeller Founda- 
tion. September 28, 1920. 

Under the deed of donation, the Louisiana 
Wild Life and Fisheries Commission manages the 
refuge which provides sanctuary for approxi- 
mately 600,000 ducks and about 35,000 geese. 

In addition to providing winter refuge for mi- 
gratory waterfowl. Rockefeller refuge also win- 
ters millions of migratory birds. 

The objective of the council is to coordinate the 
efforts of all professional waterfowl workers and 
to assure a sustained population of waterfowl in 
the Mississippi Flyway in harvestable numbers. 

At the first meeting of the Mississijipi Flyway 
council in St. Louis in January 1952, 11h' aihnin- 




Krank Helhdse. Illinois same spiHial 
I960 waterfowl migration waves. 



^t, reporting 



.lohn I,. Buckley, director of I'aluxent Waterfowl 
Research Refuge, Laurel. Maryland. 



Louisiaiia Conservationist 




Ted Shanks, Missouri State Conservation Commis- 
sion, Waterfowl Management. 

istrators established the Technical Section com- 
posed of the various state waterfowl biologists 
to provide the council with the information need- 
ed to make sound decisions concerning the man- 
agement of waterfowl. 

This Technical Committee meets twice each 
year — once in summer in St. Louis in conjunc- 
tion with the Council meeting and once each 
winter. The winter meeting is a work session and 
reports are given on the progress of various proj- 
ects. Louisiana was the host state for the group 
this year at the Rockefeller Refuge headquarters. 

The technical section meeting at Rockefeller 
was well attended by state and federal personnel 
concerned with waterfowl management, and 
much was accomplished in long-range planning 
of waterfowl management, Yancey said. 

Reports were prepared on over twenty subjects 
pertaining to the management of waterfowl by 
individuals and committees of the Technical Ses- 
sion. 

These reports and the work of the various com- 
mittees will be assembled for the use of the Mis- 
sissippi Flyway Council in their deliberations 
later this year. The result of this cooperative ef- 
fort by state and federal personnel will be ex- 
pressed in the recommendations formulated by 



John Lynch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, dis- 
cussing goose production and family groups. 

the council for the management of the conti- 
nental waterfowl resource. 

Those participating were : 

Minnesota Department of Conservation : For- 
rest Lee, Waterfowl Biologist, and Biologists 
Robert L. Jessen, Robert L Venson and Leon L. 
Johnson. 

Wisconsin Conservation Department : Richard 
Hunt, waterfowl biologist, Frank H. King, biolo- 
gist, and Jim Hale, Chief, game research. 

Michigan Department of Conservation : Mer- 
rill L. Petoskey, waterfowl specialist. 

Iowa State Conservation Commission : Jim 
Sieh, Waterfowl biologist, and Everett B. Speak- 
er, Superintendent of Biology. 

Illinois Department of Conservation : George 
Arthur, chairman, Mississippi Flyway Technical 
Section and John Piazza, area manager. 

Illinois Natural History Survey : Frank Bell- 
rose, game specialist and Harold Hanson, game 
specialist. 

Indiana Department of Conservation : Ed 
Richardson, waterfowl biologist and Warren S. 
Rowe, biologist. 

Ohio Department of Natural Resources : Karl 

(Continued on Page 20) 




Morton Smith and Allen Ensminger discuss Louisi- 
ana problems with flyway secretary Dick Vaught. 



Raymond Duller, Central Flyway Representative, 
speaking on little brown crane season. 



March, 1961 



STATE OF LOUISIANA 

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT 

Baton RouKe 

PROCLAIVIATION 

WHEREAS, the people of Louisiana are 
dependent upon the natural resources — 
soils, waters, forests, grasslands, minerals 
and wildlife — to sustain life and contribute 
to the growth and development of the State's 
industry, commerce and agriculture; and 

WHEREAS, it is now recognized that 
there is a need for open spaces — the wilder- 
ness and scenic areas, forests, grasslands, 
streams and lakes — which are vitally im- 
portant to the physical and mental health 
of our ever-increasing numbers of citizens 
who find pleasure and relaxation in the 
out-of-doors ; and 

WHEREAS, the week of March 19-25, 
1961, will be observed across the nation as 
National Wildlife Week, this being a time 
set aside to alert all the citizens of the 
nation to the need for proper use of all the 
natural resources so that our future as a 
nation may be secure. The 1961 Wildlife 
Week focuses attention on the necessity of 
long-range planning to provide for multiple 
use of our natural resources through bal- 
anced conservation planning for the future; 
and 

WHEREAS, all natural resources are 
closely inter-related, it now becomes more 
necessary than ever before that there be 
developed conservation practices which will 
provide our state and nation with the quality 
and necessary quantity of water, food, fibre, 
fuel, and recreation so that our growing 
population can maintain a standard of liv- 
ing that will strengthen a n d continue 
America's leadership in the fi-ee world. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JIMMIE H. 
DAVIS, Governor of the State of Louisiana 
do hereby proclaim March 19-25, 1961 as 

NATIONAL WILDLIFE WEEK 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have 
hereunto set my hand and caused the 
Great Seal of the State of Louisiana 
to be affixed. Done at the Capitol in 
the City of Baton Rouge on this the 
21st dav of February, 1961. 



Governor of Louisiana 



Attest 



JMofn. 



Secretary of State 





Sponsored by 

The 

Notional Wildlife Federation 

and 

Its State Affiliate 

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation 





Fishing; is probably the greatest outlet for oiitdoori 
recreati(»n. Multiple use of natural resources, alongl 
with balanced c(»nservation, provides for water, food,' 
fibre, fuel and fun for all persons. 



WIIDIIFEWEEK 
U 19-25, 1961 




Work for 

Multiple Use of Our 

Natural Resources 

and 

Balanced Conservation 




Hunting is one of the chief recreational benefits 
of multiple use of our natural resources. Water, 
forests and land use are prime factors in the con- 
tinued enjoyment of outdoor recreation. 



WILDLIFE WEEK 
OBJECTIVES FOR 1961 



1. Alert the people of America to the need for 
multiple use of our natural resources. 

2. Plan and build the conservation circle for 
balanced resource management. 

3. Encourage all citizens to become informed 
as to the relationship between man and his 
natural resource.s. 

4. To unite all conservationists for a common 
cause. 



Individual citizens interested in public welfare 
for the future can contribute much through urg- 
ing a widespread adoption of the multiple use 
principle for application to natural resources, ac- 
cording to T. H. Roger and Steve Harmon, Co- 
Chairmen of the local observance of National 
Wildlife Week. 

National Wildlife Week, sponsored annually 
by the National Wildlife Federation and its af- 
filiates, including the Louisiana Wildlife Federa- 
tion is being observed all over the nation during 
the period March 19-25 this year. Theme for the 
observance is : "Multiple Use — Balanced Conser- 
vation Planning for the Future." 

"Our basic requirements of food, clothing and 
shelter come from such natural resources as soil, 
water and minerals," Roger and Harmon declared. 
"These resources must be conserved, and prop- 
erly used, if we are to remain as a strong and 
prosperous nation." 

"An increasing number of people now are mak- 
ing more and more demands upon natural re- 
sources," they said. "It therefore is important 
that land and water areas be used for as many, or 
multiple, uses as possible. If the greatest public 
benefit is to result, it is necessary to use balanced 
conservation planning for the future." 

Citing examples, the co-chairmen said that 
forests and ranges and parks on upland areas 
serve the purpose of protecting valleys from 
floods. These same areas, he pointed out, can 
produce timber products, forage for livestock, 
minerals and many types of outdoor recreations 
— if they are not over-logged or over-grazed. 
Similarly, surface streams and lakes can produce 
valuable water supplies and recreations — if not 
polluted or clogged with silt. * 



Letter: 




1% 

Questions... miLy 
Answers... 
about 

WILDLIFE in LOUISIANA 

conducted by Steve Harmon 



Dear Editor: Kaplan, La. 

While duck hunting in a rice 
field blind, approximately five 
mile.'^ west of Kaplan, last Decem- 
ber, I killed what was mistaken 
for a duck, a bird that I have been 
unable to identify. 

While reading your section in 
the LOUISIANA C N S E R V A- 
TIONIST on letters and questions 
about Louisiana wildlife. I thought 
perhaps if I wrote to you and de- 
scribed the bird you may find it 
of interest and identify it for me. 

The bird was in all respects 
built like a duck, very similar tn 
what we call a "black jack." It 
had the breast and wings of a 
duck; the feet were webbed but 
the webbing was not connected 
near the tip of the toe as a duck's 
is. It was more toward the rear. 
Also, it had a beak rather than a 
bill. This beak was similar to that 
of a coot but stouter. The c(jloring 
on the back was brown, similar 
to the coloring on a snipe, and the 
color of the breast was a grayish 
white like that of the lihick jack 
mentioned. The feathei's were like 
those of a duck. 

When cooked, this bird looked 
like duck meat, but was not good 
to the taste as that of a duck. 

I hope this information is suf- 
ficient enough to enable positive 
identification of the bird. 

HARRISON C. MEAUX, JR. 

In rcjtlji to i/iiiir letter niiiceniiiiy 
the identifiattiini of the bird de- 
scribed by yon, the nearest Ihliii/ to 
yonr description n-onid seem to lie one 
of the grebes or "hell divers", hut of 
course, it is iinpiissible to tell n'ith- 
ouf seeing the bird. These birds, of 
course, are not inelndtd union!/ the 



iruterfon-l on n'hieh titere is an open 
season and should not be shot. 
Charles R, Shaw 
Ass't Federal Aid Coordinator 
Pittman-Robertson Section 

Dear Editor: Lake Arthur. La. 
Here is a picture I would like 
to have put in the LOUISIANA 
CONSERVATIONIST if possible. 
These fish were caught by myself 
and wife and two nephews in the 
Lacassine Refuge during fishing 



"■:w^-i:> 





months. This is only one of the 
fine catches we have made in the 
refuge during the past year or so. 
We only have to travel about 15 
miles west of Lake Arthur. 

I receive the LOUISIANA CON- 
SERVATIONIST and really enjoy 
it very much. 

.J. L. ST, GERMAIN 
Dear Editor: Baton Rouge, La. 

I wonder if you might answer 



a ciuestion on your questions and 
answers page, concerning the win- 
ter habitat of the common loon, 

A few summers ago, while fish- 
ing in eastern Canada and Maine, 
I saw and heard many loons. The 
natives told me that the birds 
wintered around the Gulf of Mexi- 
co. Never having seen or heard 
one down here. I wonder where 
they go. 

DR, U, S. HARGROVE, M,D. 

Many loons winter in. the lakes and 
bays along the Louisiana coast. These 
birds usually freqxient open water 
areas and are not often found in the 
smaller marsh lakes. 

The loon seldom ntte>-s his wierd 
cry down here and his u-inter plumage 
is more drab than the lehite, ehcekcrcd 
summer plumage. 

Yon have probably missed seeing 



Lotiisiana Conservationist 



these birds in Louisiana since they 
often stray far from shore and sel- 
dom eall during the printer. 

Morton M. Smith 
Waterfowl Study Leader 
Dear Editor; iNew Orleans, La. 

I just received the recent issue 
of the LOUISIANA CONSERVA- 
TIONIST and was pleased to see 
that you printed my account of 
the armadillo in Harvey, La. Your 
personal comments especially, on 
the photograph and account, were 
indeed very encouraging to me. 
I'm very appreciative. 

I had occasion the other day 
to visit your new museum and was 
indeed impressed. I've seen many 
museums in the past, but sincerely 
think this is the first lifelike dis- 
play I've seen yet. The birds are 




not stilted or cluttered together 
as you see them in many museums. 
They are certainly posed in a nat- 
ural and lifelike way. This im- 
pressed me most, I believe. This 
feeling of liveliness in a museum 
is a novel one. 

In most museums, the displays 
must be set up by technical men 
alone, who forget about natural- 
ness, and strive for technical per- 
fection alone. But apparently an 
artist as well as a good technician 
has set up the displays at your 
museum. 

The museum displays remind me 
of Audubon's paintings. They are 
clear cut, natural, and simply but 
beautifully designed, just as Au- 
dubon's paintings are. This, I 
think, is what made Audubon's 
paintings so great. They were not 
painted for technical perfection 
alone, but were painted for artist- 
ry and style, too. 

Your museum of birds, in which 
I take an interest primarily, is to 
me like a recreation of the Audu- 
bon paintings "in the flesh" and 
your artist and taxidermist are 
certainlv to be commended for 



such a lively, wonderful display. 

I think the very unusual, clear 
lighting system plays no small 
part in giving the display a meas- 
ure of reality. It's a refreshing 
change from the usual dark, dusty 
museums I've seen in the past. 

I hope I don't seem overly com- 
plimentary about the museum, but 
it is my sincere opinion of it. 

Technically speaking, I did see 
one mistake among the bird dis- 
plays during my 30 minute visit 
to your museum. This was in the 
grackle display. The sign reads 
"melanistic phase" under a grack- 
le specimen. I don't believe grack- 
les have plumage phases. These 
melanistic phases do occur notice- 
ably, however, in the hawn family. 
Actually, the bird shown is an al- 
bino grackle, and perhaps the sign 
should read "Albino Grackle." The 
term "phase" should be left out, 
since albinism in this case is not 
to be taken as a phase. Melaniam 
is a condition where the bird's 
plumage is black. The grackle in 
the case is white, or albino. 

GEORGE AMARAL 

In reference to the sign with the 
grackle specimen, the sign "melanistic 
phase" was used as a simple com- 
promise. It should have read "abnorm- 
plumage" and we have changed it. It 
is not a true albino, as true albinism 
is solid or off-white plumage with 
pink eyes. We appreciate your interest 
and welcome any future suggestions. 

Edouard Morgan 

Curator, Louisiana Wildlife 
Museum 




These jumbo quail were sliot by E. 
S. Cooper, Houma, La., who is shuu'n 
u-ith his dog and the plump bob 
whites. The birds were killed in Ter- 
rebonne parish. 

In reply to Cooper's interest in locat- 
ing some feed to plant along ditches 
that may provide food for wildlife. 



we would like to suggest that Cooper 
contact his county agent in Terre- 
bonne parish for this information. The 
county agent is in a j)ositio7i to give 
i)iformation regarding the seed and 
where it may be purchased. 
Dear Editor: Houston, Texas 

As a transplanted Louisianian, 
I am stuck over here in Texas for 
a few more years. I hope I can 
come home soon. 

I receive some of the issues of 
the LOUISIANA CONSERVA- 
TIONIST and there are Texans 
who go "bug-eyed" when I pass it 
around for them to see. 

They have some pretty good 
fishing here in Texas, but noth- 
ing to compare with Louisiana. 
Through the reading of the mag- 
azine, and of course, my telling 
them about the fishing (not brag- 
ging), these sportsmen are more 
and more patronizing both the 
fresh and salt water fishing of 
Louisiana. When they come back 
here, they speak of the fishing 
over there in awed wonder, as 
though they had seen a ghost. 

Over here in the south part of 
Texas, we have a lot of bayous 
and marshland similar to Louisi- 
ana's and we need a small "float 
on de dew" type of boat. The Lou- 
isiana pirogue would be ideal. Can 
you help me out with some plans 
for a light plywood pirogue-type 
boat. I certainly would appreciate 
it. At one time, I had the plans, 
but they have been lost in the 
shuffle. 

Please let me know if you can 
send a set of plans. I would be 
glad and happy to pay for them. 

Thanking you in advance, I 
would also like to say that I hope 
for continued success and prog- 
ress of the Louisiana Wild Life 
and Fisheries Commission. 

L. P. SKALASKI 

The real Louisiana pirogue is a 
dug-out, paitistakenly fashioned from 
a suitable cypress tree. Seldom wider 
than a man's hips, they are e.vtremely 
thin and almost needle-shaped. 

We feel that you have in mi>id a 
two-man duck boat, generally referred 
to as a pirogue. These are shallow 
draft boats and ideally suited for 
fresh water fishing and watei-fowl 
shooting. 

This is the type of boat most widely 
used in the south Louisiana marshes 
by sportsmen and we will make every 
effort to obtain a set of plans for 
you. They are ideally suited for shal- 
low water ponds, bayous and shallow 
lagoons. 

Every effort will be made to obtain 
a set of plans for you. Perhaps Texas 



March, 1961 



13 



sportsmen tciU find fliein more easij 
to handle than any other type of eraft 
in the waters you meiitio)i. 

Thank you for your kind j-onorA's 
about the LOUISIAXA COXSER- 
\'ATIO.\IST and the i>ride n-hieh you 
have in your native state. 
Dear Editor: Shreveport, La. 

I have never been on your mail- 
ing list for the LOUISIANA COX- 
SERVATIOXIST. but would ap- 
preciate it if you would include 
me on your future lists. I am an 
avid sportsman and really enjoy 
the magazine. 

I am enclosing one snapshot of 
a successful annual squirrel hunt 
on Saline Bayou near Goldonna, 
Louisiana. A group of my friends 
and I make an overnight camping 
and hunting trip at the beginning 
of each season. We usually camp 
on Saline Bavou and usually have 




the sort of results you see in this 
photograph. I have more photos of 
this and other hunts if you are 
interested. Persons shown in this 
photograph, from left to I'ight. 
are: John E. Morgan, Osborn 
Blake, Ottis Blake, L. V. Rhymes, 
and Robert Rhymes, all from Gol- 
donna. La. 

OSBORN BLAKE 

We are jtlaeiny your name on ttiv 
mailing list to receive the LOUISI- 
ANA COXSERVATIONIST and hope 
that you eontinuc to take an active 
interest in u-ildlifc conservation. 

Thanks alxn for including the snap- 
shot of s(juirrel hunt near Saline 
Hayou. We are pleased to use if in 
this section of the magazine. 
Paradis, La. Dear Editor: 

I would like to know if it is legal 
to rob a hawk's nest in Louisiana. 
If so, I would like to have some 
information on the habits of 
hawks. 

I am 11 years old and live in 
Paradis and would like to have a 
baby hawk for a pet. 

JACK ROGERS 

Your Icitir concerning robbing a 
hawk's nest has been referred to the 
Fish and Game Division for reply. 

In the first place, you should knou- 



that It IS against the policy of the 
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries 
Commission to issue permits to keep 
the young of any species of u'ildlife 
as j)ets, and I am sure that you do not 
u-isJt to violate the law in this respect. 

1)1 the second place, most of our 
hawks are very beneficial in the wild, 
and H-ith the cveeption of the Duck 
Han-k and the Coopers and Sharp- 
shinned, are protected )iot only in 
Louisiana but in most other states as 
well. 

In the third place, the variation in 
plumage makes the identification of 
young hawks problematical by in- 
e.cperienced pei'sons and it is doubt- 
ful that even if you located a hatvk's 
nest containing young that it would 
be the species you mentioned. 

In view of the above facts, I u:ould 
suggest that you pick out some do- 
mesticated species for a pet and enjoy 
the n-ildlife species where they belong, 
in the wild. 

Charles R. Shaw 
Ass't Federal Aid Coordinator 
Pittman-Robertson Section 
Dear Editor: Bogalusa, La. 

I have been borrowing old 
copies of the LOUISIANA CON- 
SERVATIONIST for some time, 
and I really commend you for the 
work and the magazine that is 
making a lot of people become con- 
servation-minded. 

Our game and fish is a great 
source of enjoyment and especial- 
ly important as a source of food. 
I'm sure the fathers of these 50 
states would have been overcome 
by hunger had it not been for the 
game and fish they found for 
food ; especially during the early 
days of settlement. 

In view of the above, I congrat- 
ulated Governor Davis and the 
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries 
Commission in the purchase of a 
large tract of land to i)roiluce 
game and fish: and to converse 
our fish and game at the same 
time. 

I would think that the State of 
Louisiana would do well if the 
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries 
Commisson would obtain leases 
on scmie of the large tracts of land 
(thousand of acres) owned by 
some of the paper mills in our 
state and set up game preserves 
thereon and replenish the State 
with game and fish that furnishes 
the cleanest and most wholesome 
sport in our state, as well as pro- 
viding fish and game for food. 

During oui' past depression 
days, oui- game and fish became 
very, very valuable food, and we 
ate so much game and fish until 
we almost did away with seed 



stock of some of our animals and 
sea foods. 

I think we should put more mon- 
ey and effort into game and fish 
conservation and the Louisiana 
Wild Life and Fisheries Commis- 
sion. 

I would like to see my name 
added to your mailing list for 
the LOUISIANA C N S E R V A- 
TIONIST. J. FLOYD SEALS 

Thank yon for your letter of Feb- 
ruary 21. We are placing your name 
on the mailing list to receive the 
LOUISIANA CONSERVATIONIST 
regularly. 

You may be interested in knowi^ig 
that the program yon refer to has 
been in operation for many years and 
that in addition to the land recently 
purchased outiight, the Louisiana 
Wild Life and Fisheries Commission 
has hundreds of thousands of acres of 
land under management. Efforts to 
acquire additional land will continue. 

At the present time we are receiv- 
ing full cooperation of paper manu- 
facturing companies; special founda- 
tions; the U.S. Forest Service; the 
U.S. Army Engineers; the U.S. Army 
and private industry. 

In addition to the tract of land ac- 
quired recently by outright purchase, 
the Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries 
Commission has approximately 15 
large areas notv under its jurisdic- 
tion and management. The total acre- 
age amounts to 833,301 acres. Of this 
total, 228,750 acres are involate sanc- 
tuary; 378,778 acres are open to con- 
trolled hunting by permits; and 161,- 
703 acres are open to hrtnting during 
the open season. 

The Louisiana Wild Life and Fish- 
eries Commission is hard at work to 
acquire additional lands for protec- 
tion and ma)iagement of its wildlife 
resources. 

We appreciate your interest in this 
matter and hope that in the years 
ahead more individuals will become 
as keenly aware of the value of such 
tracts of land to the perpetuation of 
hunting and fishing and to safeguard 
against cvtinction of any form of 
u-ildlife. 
Dear Editor: Singer, La. 

Please add my name to the mail- 
ing list of your fine publication, 
the LOUISIANA C O N S E R V A- 
TIONIST, and accept my compli- 
ments on a very informative and 
enjoyable magazine. 

My wife and I are playing hosts 
this winter to a Canada goose 
that has taken up with our flock 
of tame geese. It has become a 
part of the family and we hope 
that next year it will return with 
a mate as did another species of 
wild goose this year. The article 
in the November-December issue 
especially interested us. 

JAMES K. WHITE 



14 



Louisiana Conservationist 



Release Educational Film 



ot.C 



ouidiana 



Warden Of Dke M 



y? 



ldMS6ip§Jl 



W 



THE LOUISIANA Wild Life and Fisheries Com- 
mission has released its newest education- 
al film, "Louisiana Marshes Of the Missis- 
sippi", a thirteen and one-half minute dramatic, 
color-sound glimpse of the sprawling Louisiana 
marshes and its wildlife and diversified indus- 
tries which depend so entirely on Louisiana's 
natural marshland resources. 

The film, which will be distributed through the 
Commission's film lending library for showing 
before school, civic and other groups, was pro- 
duced by Avalon Daggett, Louisiana-born photog- 
rapher-lecturer. Miss Daggett is head of Avalon 
Daggett Productions in Los Angeles, California, 
with offices in Baton Rouge. 

Considered one of the most appealing natural 
history films, the movie takes the viewer on a trip 
through the marshes of the Mississippi Delta. 

Along the gulf of Mexico lies one of our last 
great frontiers. Not solid earth nor open water, it 
is the marshland where the Mississippi deposits 
two to three million tons of sediment a day, 
washed down from the lands through which the 
river travels. Four million acres of this land lie 
at or near sea level. This vast fringe of wet land 
extends for from ten to thirty miles and within 
itself contains a variety of conditions supporting 
different kinds of plant and animal life. 

These grass-covered lowlands are flat and tree- 
less with only shreds of dry land. The ridges 
float on liquid mud and though only two roads 
have been built in this area at tremendous cost, 
this land is one of the richest habitats of varie- 
ties of birds and fur-bearing animals that we 
possess. One sees squadrons of geese — Snow, Ca- 
nadian and Blue geese winter here. Many of 
the ducks from the northern lands come to these 
marshlands. In the film are closeups of crabs, 
turtles, oysters, alligators, raccoon, mink, otter, 
muskrat, and nutria that abound in this area. 
Viewers see a trapper set his traps and go slog- 
ging through the mud to attend to them. The 
skins are dried and sold at auction at the end of 
the season. 

This film is a revelation to those of us who 
have not lived close to this area. The lack of 
travel facilities where most of the getting about is 
done in hipboots or pirogue has left many large- 
ly ignorant of the beauty and rich natural life 
that exists in the marshlands. Many of the 
sequences are of startling beauty; interest is 
maintained to the end and one wishes that the 
visual trip were longer. 

Air views of the vast marshlands are seen 
where only two roads cross the land but the 
marsh hides a natural fur farm ; and hundreds 




Born on a Louisiana plantation. Miss Avalon Das^ett 
developed her appreciation of nature by exploring 
vi'oods, fields and marshes. After mastering the 
technique of recording her observations by camera, 
she now shares her exciting adventures afield and 
afloat with audiences interested in natural history 
and wildlife. 

of birds call this home. It portrays one family as 
they leave their home, load everything they will 
need on a barge, and chug along bayou and canal 
to their remote trapping grounds. Sequences show 
their life while at camp and how they prepare 
their muskrat pelts by stretching and dry 
them in the sun. The skins of mink, nutria and 
otter are tacked to boards to dry. The sales 
tallied up at season's end make these Louisiana 
coastal marshes one of the greatest fur produc- 
tion areas in the nation. This wilderness, hostile 
to man, gives up a rich harvest to a hardy few. + 




Because Avalon Daggett ventures far afield in search 
for material for her movies, one prominent reviewer 
recently said of her film, "they are not merely picto- 
rially beautiful and dramatically exciting; but also 
carry you arm-in-arm and eye-to-eye with her, as 
together you explore a new, surprising, wonderful 
America." 



March, 1961 



15 



Gulf Fishing 



DOWN 
and 
OUT 

Herman J. Pragcr, Jr. 




This 12S-pound yellow finned tuna was boaled by 
the author. 



AT LAST THE LONG awaited week end had ar- 
rived, the time when we would go "down" 
the river and "out" into the Gulf, after big 
game fish in this newly opened fishing frontier 
off the mouth of the Mississippi River. 

It may seem funny to some, to have lived and 
fished in New Orleans for the last 25 years, and 
never tried our hand at this type of fishing. 
However, until an ardent and sincere hardwork- 
ing charter boat skipper took up this challenge, 
this opportunity to tackle these unknown waters, 
few people had the opportunity to do so, or the 
experience to know how to do it successfully. 

Capt. Bob and Mrs. Mitcheltree, with their first 
mate Don Lyman, a transplanted Floridian who 
has been in and out of charter boat fishing since 
1925, took the first charter boat operating in 
these waters, strictly for big game fishing. I had 
known Capt. Bob and Don from fi-shing with 
them aboaixl the "Jennifer Ann." Bob used to 
fish out of Grand Isle, mostly bottom fishing 
while tied to one of the numerous oil rigs, in 
close and far out. Trolling for Spanish mackerel 
and tarpon were also some of his successful ac- 
complishments. Now, this has been left behind, 
and he has moved to the new territory of the 
Gulf off of South Pass, but I'm getting ahead of 
my story. 

Our party of five, Pat and Joe Giardina, J. B. 
Prager III, my wife, Kay and I left New Orleans 
via the new Mississippi river bridge about 1 :30 
P.M. on Wednesday, August 23. We headed down 
the river on highway 23 to Venice, some 75 miles 
to the South. The road is in very good condi- 
ion, paved all the way and terminates there. 
This is as far as one can go by car towards the 
mouth of the river. 

We left early, anticipating heavy traffic, how- 
ever, except for a heavy thunderstorm at Port 
Sulphur, our trip was pleasant and quicker than 



expected. Capt. Bob was waiting and early as 
usual, so we boarded the "Jennifer Ann" and left 
for his new quarters at Rear Range Light in 
South Pass, two miles from the Gulf. 

The Jennifer Ann is a 45 foot lugger type hull, 
diesel powered with all of the necessary equip- 
ment for this type of fishing. I climbed up on 
the flying bridge and talked with Capt. Bob 
about our past trips, and of his new experiences 
at the mouth of the river. His tales of the large 




Prater, left, with it.") pound tuna; and Eddie Wagner 
with seven foot — two inch 16 pound sailfish. 



Louisiana Conservationist 



fish made my spine quiver with excitement. I had fished 
in Miami and Panama City, but had as yet to land a big- 
game fish. So far that year, Capt. Bob had boated 22 
billfish — six of these sails, 3 blues and rest white marlin. 
The larg-e bull dolphin and tuna were too numerous to 
count. The top weights are blue marlin — 392 lbs. — 
white marlin 92 lbs. — sailfish 65 lbs. — tuna 130 lbs. 
— dolphin 43 lbs. — wahoo 25 lbs. With this before me, we 
longed for next day when we would be out giving them 
a whirl. 

The trip to the camp, some 22 miles, takes one hour 
to the head of the passes and one hour from there down 
to Rear Range Light in South Pass. Capt. Bob chose 
South Pass for it is the shortest route to the deep blue 
fishing area. His camp is a small house, built some 30 
years ago, by a retired Chief Petty Officer of the Coast 
Guard. Capt. Bob bought this home and leased the land. 
There are two very nice rooms for the fishing party, 
dining room with various mounted fish adorning the wall, 
mounted by J. T. Reese of Fort Lauderdale, who Capt. 
Bob represents. Don skins the catch and prepares them 
for mounting if you wish. Capt. Bob and his wife, who 
directs operation "Homefront", live in a room adjoining 
the kitchen on one side and Don has a private room on the 
other side. The bath facilities, new and freshly painted, 
are to the left of the main house. The showers are also 
in this building and feel mighty wonderful when you re- 
turn after a day of fishing. 

Mrs. Micheltree prepared a huge supper, serving about 
7:30 P.M. After our leisure meal, all gathered around the 
table, recalling past moments of fishing and hunting. 
For in the winter, this is some of the finest hunting 
grounds for geese and ducks. One thing very noticeable 
down there, no mosquitoes. Why, I don't know, but it is 
a pleasure to be free of those pests. Before turning in, we 
walked out to the dock on the river, under a clear moon- 
light sky and waved at a large freighter passing. 

We were called at 5:30 a.m. We dressed and found a 
full breakfast of eggs, bacon or pork sausages, biscuits, 
.ielly, fruit juice or tomato juice and hot coffee waiting. 
From the camp, it is two miles to the mouth of the river. 
We passed the bar pilots' station on our starboard side 
and the last house on the land — that of the Coast Guard 
at the very entrance of the River. 

The Gulf was flat and lazy. The "Jennifer Ann" has 
a canvass stretched over the front deck, and the air mat- 
tresses and breeze cures all ills. We headed in a south- 
southeast direction and settled down for two-hour and 
45 minutes run. This is approximately where the deep 
water is, and where they had been having the best luck 
Unfortunately, we could not find the blue water and no 
rip. 

Don prepared the bait and rigged the lines on the out- 
riggers. Three lines are trolled from the outriggers, two 
of these from the port side, with the second line rigged 
halfway along the length of the outrigger, all lines very 
close to the boat and skipping on the water. One "meat 
line" of %" cotton rope is trolled from the stern on star- 
board side with a red feather duster in the propellor's 
wake. The last line is trolled from the stern on the port 
side. This is an idea of Don's and is rigged with a one- 
quarter inch cotton line about 20 feet long tied to a 
beer can, with a 3 ft. leader attached to the line. An- 
other red feather duster is used. This can spirals under 
the water, breaks water, skips around on top, and dives 
under again, acting as a teaser. Mullet is used as the 
bait on the three outside lines. 

"Tuna," yelled Capt. Bob from the flying bridge. We 
looked to our port and saw tuna by the do'zens leapino- out 
of the water. This was the first time we had seen this 
sight. We'd heard about the tuna, so thick one could 
walk on them, but seeing was believing. We veered to 
port and trolled through the school. Wham, and we had 
something. .Joe had the chair and started in with it, 
but our first catch was disappointing. It was a black tip 
shark about four feet long. As Don was cutting the shark 
loose, something hit his meat line and went deep, as deep 
as the rope would allow. Don handlined him in and it 
turned out to be a 15 lb. allison yellow-finned tuna. 
Their fins are a bright yellow and their body is like an 
overgrown bonito. 

Jay took the chair, and we started fishing again. The 
school disappeared and never returned. 

^ Then again, wham!, the line snapped from the out- 
rigger and started out like a jet was attached to the end. 
The 12/0 reel spun off line like a bait casting rod, then 
stopped, and Jay set the hook and started to reel. Don 
asked that the other lines be reeled in and set aboard. 
As Pat was reeling in the line on the starboard side, 
something rapped her line. Pat was more excited than 



anyone, and the ribbing she took bringing in her fish 
showed she certainly is a wonderful sport. At last she 
had her catch close to the boat. Don had the leader and 
boated the first fish of the trip, a nice 26 pound dolphin. 

Jay was still fighting his fish, which seemed larger 
than Pat's. Soon Jay had his alongside and Don gaffed 
a very nice 32 pound bull dolphin. It wasn't big game 
fish, but it certainly started the trip off with a bang. 

The lines were rigged out again. Don usually catches 
the bait the morning of the trip. He takes the flat boat 
with an outboard motor and goes down the river to one 
of the cuts, out into the flats, and casts for mullets with 
a net. This is the bait which has proved the most suc- 
cessful. 

Don takes the fresh mullet and using a very sharp 
deboning- knife, slits the back open on each side of the 
backbone, makes a cut across the backbone right behind 
the head and close to the tail and then removes backbone 
and entrails. This allows the bait to "work" when it is 
being trolled. He then takes a hook and inserts it from 
the back thru the lower belly of the mullet between the 
two ventral fins with the eye of the hook almost even 
with the front of the mouth. 

The leader wire is passed thru the lower jaw, the 
eye of the hook and the top of the head and then twisted 
to make up the end of the leader. The leader is about 
1/32" spring wire some twenty-five feet long and made 
fast to a swivel on the line end. A double line of some 
twenty feet is used next to the swivel so that when the 
mate is trying to handline the big ones in, the chance 
of line breakage is at a minimum. 'The back of the mullet 
is left open and not sewed up. The belly of the mullet has 
not been .slit, the only puncture being that of the hook. 
This allows the bait to be trolled longer and less chance 
of pulling apart. 

The line is payed out about 75 to 100 feet behind the 
boat and skips the water. The outriggers are some thirty 
feet long and extend from each side of the boat. The line 
is rigged from the pole to the clothes pin on the outrigger, 
and then the clothespin is brought to the end of the out- 
rigger. The lengjth of the outrigger enables the bait fish 
to skip, simulating a flying fish as it skims and jumps 
over the waves. The outrigger serves another purpose for 
the billfish usually attacks a bait with a strike of its bill, 
makes a pass at the "dead" fish as it sinks in the water 
and on the second pass swallows its victim. 

As the fish attacks the bait, the line is snapped from 
the clothespin in the outrigger by the blow, then the bait 
starts to sink, remaining- in the same place as the line 
slack is taken out. This is when the fish is "supposed" to 
take the bait, and usually does. 

The line will start going out on free spool. A count of 
ten is made, if one can wait that long, then the drag is 
engaged and the hook set. 

This is the time when the excitement takes place. He 
really takes off, reeling out the line. The sight of a bill- 
fish on the end of the line is something to behold, some- 
thing which you cannot explain to others, but must 
come through experience. Most of the fish will strike in 
this fashion, however, many times the fish will crash 
the bait, sound and never appear until brought to gaff. 

Sometimes the fish will swim directly behind the bait, 
in full view of the fishermen, with his dorsal fin ex- 




Joe Giardina. with j 
from the New Gulf bi 



fine CS pound white marlin 
game fish frontier. 



March, 1961 



tending above the water. It may look at the bait once or 
tivice, even go from bait to bait, and not finding it to 
his liking, swim off, much to the disappointment of the 
fisherman. The correct drag setting is highly important. 

One tiling that most fishermen do is lighten the drag 
as the fish takes out line. The fact is it should be loosened 
as the line on the reel decreases. As the line has been 
payed out to four inches in diameter, or two thirds of 
the full spool, the pull has increased to 60 pounds. When 
the spool is halfway, the pull has increased to 80 pounds 
and when the reel is on the last few feet of line, it will 
take a tremendous 240 pounds pressure to overcome the 
drag, or si.x times greater than at the start, without even 
touching or adjusting the drag setting. 

The lines were not out for long, when Don came flying- 
down from the bridge. Jay had the rod in his hand and 
we could all see the dorsal fin of a marlin following the 
bait. Then, snap went the outrigger and in a short time 
Jay had his fish hooked. The fish took out quite a bit of 
line on his first run and started lumping, two, three, four 
times, and then he went down. Jay fought it up, then out 
it would go again, taking out the line which had just been 
so hard to bring in. 

After about twenty-five minutes, the double line came 
up, then the leader wire, which Don grabbed and pulled 
in carefully. These fish, although seemingly outdone, can 
surely fool you and one has to be very careful of the 
bill, which has been known to pierce a man and even the 
hulls of fishing boats. Don had the bill at last in his 
gloved hands, and Capt. Bob left the wheel and threw a 
tail rope on the marlin to enable them to land the fish 
without fear of losing it, in the event the leader wire 
broke or the fish pulled the hook. When it was pulled 
aboard and measured, the weight was 82 pounds, 9 feet 
two inches long. A very fine specimen for a white marlin, 
in any fishing area. This was our first billfish and were 
we excited. The best part was that we still had two 
days of fishing ahead. 

We fished the rest of the day, raised one more bill- 
fish that refused to take the bait, then headed back to 
the camp for a good supper and much needed rest. 

Next day we were out, looking for blue water. This is 
a fishing oddity. One day it is here, next day it is there. 
Then it cannot be found at all. 

On our way out, a large manta ray was sighted, then 
sounded as oiir boat drew alongside. Some 20 miles out 
a whale loomed up. blowing and playing on the surface, 
cruising lazily along with his head and body just even 
with the top "of the water. We veered to starboard and 
put it directly in front of us, approaching to about 2.50 
feet. Capt Bob respected this whale, and I don't blame 
him. It was at least 40 feet long, almost as long as the 
boat. We followed her for 10 minutes, speeded up the 
engine and it sounded, throwing up a hugh V-shaped 
tail as it did. The tail looked 10 feet across and we 
snapped a picture of it as it raised. The whale never 
came up again, so we continued our trip out to the 
blue water. 

The Gulf was very flat, for it was dead calm. The fish- 
ing outlook was not too bright. We were disappointed. 
This is the drawback to deep sea fishing, the very long 
and tiring monotony of waiting. But this waiting is usu- 
ally justified! 

It was just about noon, and we were munching on 
sandwiches prepared by Mrs. Mitcheltree. Suddenly there 
was a fin following the port outrigger. .All hands were 
alert and Joe was sitting in the fighting chair. Then, 
the fish took the bait and gave Joe a merry time. This 
is the "unknown" which tingles your spine, for out there 
there's no telling what one might attract and, with luck, 
land a big fish. 

The fish jumped several times and Joe fought it. 
Although it turned out to be smaller than Jay's fish, it 
seemed to fight harder. After forty minutes the second 
white marlin was boated, a very nice fish carrying a 
weight of 68 pounds, seven ft., one inch. Joe had at last 
landed his billfish and was he excited. 

The lines were again rigged and we resumed trolling. 
This was my turn in the chair. After these fine catches, 
I not only had my companions giving me "expert" advice, 
even Pat was telling me how to land a fish. 

Three o'clock came and passed, with my only reward 
a ten pound bonito and two five feet long black tip 
sharks. The time to pull in our lines arrived, for we were 
thirty-odd miles and several hours out. Reluctantlv, I 
helped reel in the lines and settled for a ribbing on how 
to catch big fish, and how not to catch sharks. My only 
consolation was that there was still tomorrow and our last 
chance. Time would be against me though; for on the 
third day of the trip Capt. Bob does not go out so far. 



18 



He must return to his camp around 1 P.M., and travel 
up river to pick up his new party about .5 P.M. in Venice. 

The wind had started to ruffle the Gulf and it looked 
like I would have to accept the verbal punishment until 
our next trip. I was glad to see night come; the anxiety 
for the next day was becoming unbearable, along with 
my ribbing. 

Earlier than usual the next day, we were up and ready 
to go. The wind had ijicked up and a rather large chop 
had developed during the night. The "Jennifer Ann" 
ploughed on through the heavier seas, and one had to 
hold on now. 

With bad weather and prospects of an early return, 
it looked like we'd had it. We did not intend to try to 
find the blue water on this, the last day, but would 
fish in close. Don had iced down the bonito taken the 
previous day, and proceeded to prepare it for bait. He 
slit the sides in a sort of tapered cut and then across 
the front of the lower part of the gills, making a trian- 
gular shaped "boat," for the inside cavity created a 
hollow condition and it did look like a small boy's play- 
boat, some sixteen inches long. 

The under part of the fish is rather hard and will troll 
for a long period without the need of changing. Don said 
he wanted to try something different for me after all of 
the ribbing. The" other lines were rigged with mullet, and 
all were payed out about 7:.30 A.M. They say that fish 
bite better when there is a chop. If this is so, we felt that 
they should devour the bait today, for the chop was 
surely there, some three feet high. 

Sure enough, at exactly eight o'clock, a fish hit the 
port outrigger. No one ever did see what hit it, and 
there wasn't any backdrop, it acted like it was hooked on 
an express train. No jumps, no nothing; only the line 
spinning out and for a while, I didn't think it would 
ever stop. We were using a 12/0 reel holding some 600 
yards of 1.30# test line, and even that did not seem big 
enough. I had heard about the reels getting so hot that 
they could not be touched on the side plates. We were 
finding out this was true from first hand experience. 
This heat is set up by the drag and line running out at 
great speed. 

Sure enough, Don had brought me luck, for the un- 
known fish had hit the big bonito belly, and it sure looked 
as if he liked it. Of course, I had a lot of encouragement, 
like "it's a shark," "it's too big," "the line will break," 
"it's getting late," "we have to go in," and other remarks. 
In fact, they almost had a fight over who was to douse 
me and the" reel with buckets of water. At first this 
seemed unnecessary, but when nine, then ten o'clock came 
around, and the battle was still on, it felt wonderful. If 
one did not have a fishing harness, a fish of this fight- 
ing strength would prove to be hard to handle. A harness 
enables the fisherman to take the strain off of his arm 
muscles and pull with his back. 

The fish was brought to the double line at least three 
times, and each time started a new run, as if it had been 
just hooked. Ten thirty came and passed, and the idea 
that it might be a shark changed, for the runs were too 
fast and it seemed to have too much stamina and fight 
left. About eleven o'clock, Don finally was able to grab 
the leader and bring it to gaff. Capt. Bob had to help 
Don pull it aboard. At long la.st, after three and a quarter 
hours, we had finally boated a 128 pound yellow finned 
allison tuna, some five feet long, with a girth of 54 
inches. I have read fishing stories of how men had 
battled with much larger tuna for many more hours, and 
I didn't know how they do it. 

The tuna may not have been as glamorous as the dol- 
phin and the marlin, but I was well satisfied with the 
catch, and very satisfied with the entire trip. 

The long time consumed in landing the fish had taken 
us out farther. We headed in promptly. 

Our arrival back in Venice was the end of three won- 
derful days, days which we shall not soon forget. To help 
us to remember, Don skinned out all the fish and we had 
them mounted. A magnificent job. These and fish landed 
on later trips adorn our office, causing much attention, 
bringing about real deep sea fishing stories and pub- 
licizing this wonderful fishing area of the mouth of the 
Mississippi River. 

Capt. Bob has big plans for this area. He certainly 
deserves a lot of credit for his efforts. 

One day we hope there will be a very fine fishing 
resort operating in this area, for the fish are there. 

Some dav there may be as many boats fishing this 
territory as" those off Bimini Cat Cay, Walker Cay and 
other famous areas. One day this area will draw these 
fine fishine boats. Time will tell! No doubt about the 
fish being there. It is just who will take them! + 

Louisiana Conservationist 



CRAWFISH CULTURE 

(Continued from Page 7) 




Baited nets are used in shallow water in the taking 
of crawfish. 

plemented by insect life which grows naturally 
or falls into the water. When the crawfish crop 
is alternated with rice, it is wise to leave the 
stubble and straw in the fields. This will not only 
furnish food, but the piles of straw will provide 
hiding places to protect the young crawfish from 
predatory birds. 

Where to Secure Broodstock 

Broodstock can be secured from commercial 
crawfish catchers and from dealers in market 
crawfish. Both Henderson and Pierre Part, Lou- 
isiana, are prolific sources of wild crawfish. Most 




of the rice field crawfish farms in southwestern 
Louisiana will sell broodstock for the initial stock- 
ing of new crawfish farms. A 50 lb. sack of live 
crawfish per acre seems ample for initial stock- 
ing. It is best to secure this stock whenever it 
is available at the lowest market price, which is 
usually about the end of May or early June, when 
the crawfish reach adult stage and get too tough 
and hard for market. Sometimes a source of 
broodstock develops in late summer or early fall 
when equinoctual rains or floods drive them out 
of their burrows, and they crawl overland at 
night. At this season it is only necessary to stock 
with females, as the eggs are already fertile. The 
males will die off anyhow and are only equal to 
so much fertilizer. 

Harvesting 

Although harvesting can be done in any pond 
as experience dictates, the early crop always 
brings the best prices. Standard crawfish nets 
and traps are the usual methods employed. A re- 
cent innovation is the use of floats from which 
hang lengths of cord which reach bottom. Fish 
hooks, preferably barbless (homemade hooks can 
be made by bending wire), are attached to the 
bottom ends of the cords and the baits are at- 
tached to these. The baited floats are placed in 
rows in the crawfish ponds. The crawfish catch- 
ers follow these rows of baits, scooping up each 
bait in turn with all of the crawfish which have 
gathered around it. The size of the mesh of these 
scoop nets should be sufficient to permit the es- 
cape of all crawfish under acceptable commercial 
size. Each baited hook with its float is then 
thrown back into the water a little distance to 
one side, thus forming another row. The crawd'ish 
are dumped from the scoop net into bushel bas- 
kets, floating tubs, or small boat-like floats. 

Crawfish stew 



5 cloves garlic 
parsley and onion tops 
to taste 
2 cups water 



Sportsmen and their families "work" two dozen or 
more nets catching crawfish. 



30 lbs. live crawfish 

2 cups flour 
1 cup cooking oil 

3 onions chopped 
1 sweet pepper chopped 

Wash and cull crawfish. To approximately 10 
gai. of boiling water add crawfish and scald for 
5 min. or until half cooked. (This is very impor- 
tant, because they will break up and become 
mealy while cooking if they are not scalded long 
enough.) Cool and peel at once, separating the fat 
from the tails. 

Make a golden brown roux with flour and oil. 
Add onions and saute. Add crawfish fat and stir 
constantly over low heat until oil comes to the 
top of mixture. Add water slowly. Add sweet pep- 
per and garlic and seasoning to taste. Put on a 
very low heat and simmer for about an hour. Add 
tails and cook for 20 minutes. Cook in an uncov- 
ered pot. Add parsley and onion tops just before 
serving. 

Feeds approximately 10 people. * 



March, 1961 



19 



FLYWAY GROUP 

(Continued from Page !)) 

Bednarik, waterfowl biologist, and biologists 
Lawson Reau and R. K. Martinson. 

Missouri State Conservation Commission : Dick 
Vaught, Secretary-Treasurer, Mississippi Flyway 
Technical Section, Ted Shanks, waterfowl man- 
agement, Harold Terrill, management, George 
Brakhage, waterfowl management and Robert L. 
Duncan, biologist. 

Kentucky Department of Conservation : Frank 
Dibble, waterfowl biologist, Arnold Mitchell, Di- 
rector, Division of Game Management and James 
Moynahan, biologist. 

Tennessee Department of Conservation : Calvin 
Barstow, Supervisor, waterfowl management. 

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission : Dave 
Donaldson, waterfowl biologist. 

Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commis- 
sion : Richard Yancey, Morton Smith, Allan Ens- 
minger. Bob Chabreck, Bob Harmon, Clarke 
Hauffpauir, and other commission personnel. 

Mississippi Game and Fish Commission : John 
Pharis, P-R Coordinator, Henry Bobbs, Super- 
visor, Western Management Areas and Joe B. 
Sills. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Sport 
Fisheries and Wildlife: Ed Addy, Atlantic Fly- 
way Representative, Art Hawkins, Mississippi 
Flyway Representative and Raymond Buller, 
Central Flyway Representative. 

Region III : Al Studholme, Chief, Division 
of Wildlife, Biologists Jerry Pospichal and Har- 
vey Nelson, and Ross Hanson, inlot-biologist. 
Management and Information. 

Region IV : Francis Gillett, Chief, Division of 
Wildlife, wildlife management biologists Royston 
Rudolph and Jake Valentine, wildlife re.search Bi- 
ologists Ralph Andrews and John Lynch, and 
Jack Perkins, Refuge Division. 

Patuxent Research Refuge : John L. Buckley, 
Director, Aelred Geis, Assistant Chief, Popula- 
tion and Distribution Studies, and Walter Cris- 
sey, Population and Distribution Studies. 

Canadian Wildlife Service : Bernie Gallop, bi- 
ologist supervisor. 

Wildlife Management Institute: P'ield Repre- 
sentatives Larry Jahn and Bill Allen. 

Pilots : E. B. Chamberlain, U.S. Fish and Wild- 
life Service. Nelson Summerell and Buck Davis, 
Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission, 
and N. C. Hoefelman, Missouri. 

Also attending the meeting from Louisiana 
State University were : 

Dr. Leslie L. Glasgow, Professor, Game Man- 
agement, and game management students John 
L. Bardwell, Ernest Jemison, Hugh Junca and 
John Davis. + 




Francis (Jillett, right. Region l\ Chief Division of 
Wildlife, and Ed Addy, Atlantic Flyway Representa- 
tive, sampling Louisiana oysters. 




Richard Y'ancey, Assistant Director, Louisiana Wild 
Life and PMsheries Commission, showing Louisiana 
alligator. 




Ross Hanson, center. Pilot — IJiologist. .Management 
and Information, region III, presenting paper on 
mid-winter waterfowl inventories. 




All ll;i\\Uiiis. r.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missis- 
sippi Fl>wa.\ Representative, addressing group. 



20 



Loiunidiin Conservationist 




of the month 



Charles Shaw 

cal bird family and belong to 358 species 
occuring in the Western Hemisphere. Only 
32 species inhabit the United States and of these 
only 17 species occur in Louisiana according to 
Dr. George H. Lowerv, Jr., in his book "LOUISI- 
ANA BIRDS". 

With the possible exception of the Vermilion 
Flycatcher (which is quite rare in Louisiana) 
the Scissor-tail is the most spectacular member 
of this family occuring in our state. Dr. Lowery 
describes the Scissor-tail as being predominate- 
ly of a pearl-gray color with the under wing lin- 
ings and sides of the breast varying in color 
from a brilliant salmon-pink to a saturn-red. The 
tail of the male may range in length from 7 to 
10 inches while that of the female is considerably 
shorter. 

Although there is a breeding population of 
these birds in Northwestern Louisiana, and they 
have been recorded during each month of the 
year except February, most people are not aware 
that this attractive interesting and valuable bird 
is one of the 387 .species comprising the state 
bird list. 

Although not frequently seen outside of South- 
western Louisiana in the winter or migratory sea- 
son, and Northwestern Louisiana during the sum- 
mer or breeding season, this unusual bird seems to 
have been visiting our state for much longer than 
most people realize. In Bulletin No. 28 of the De- 
partment of Conservation, written by Harry C. 
Oberholser and published in 1938, he records the 
earliest known spring arrival date of this bird 
as March 25, 1894. 

The name Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is very de- 
scriptive and refers, of course, to the long deeply 
forked tail which often seems to open and close 
with a scissors-like movement during flight. The 
male makes some very spectacular display flights 
during courtship and may continue this activity 
until the eggs are hatched. These aerial acrobatics 
are accompanied by a sort of cackling noise prob- 
ably produced by loud snapping of its bill. 

The nest is fairly large and bulky for a small 
bird and is well lined with soft material. In Lou- 
isiana, the lining is generally cotton which is 
usually available in the vicinity. In our state the 
nest is apt to be found in one of the pecan groves 
common in Northwestern Louisiana or in one of 



Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 

Muscivoia forficata 




the scattered trees left for shade in the extensive 
pastures of the re^irion. From four to six whitish 
eggs blotched with dark brown will be found in 
the nest. Five seems to be the usual number. 

The typical flycatcher family habit of sitting 
in an exposed location and then flying out after 
passing insects is also possessed by these birds. 

There is yet another trait which this bird 
shares with some of the other flycatchers, especi- 
ally our common Eastern Kingbird. That is the 
habit of fearlessly attacking larger birds such as 
hawks and crows, etc., whenever the latter invade 
its home territory. It may at times appear to be 
riding the back of the larger bird and pecking 
at the top of its head. This habit is pi'obably re- 
sponsible for the Mexican myth that the favorite 
food of the Scissor-tail is the brain of another 
bird. 

Speaking of food, this is one department in 
which this bird can be proud to stand up and be 
counted as its diet is composed largely of insects, 
spiders and such creatures, some 96 percent of 
its diet falling into this category. Farmers might 
be interested to know that grasshoppers and 
crickets form some 46 per cent of its food and 
that beetles form about 14 per cent. This would 
indicate that this is an extremely beneficial bird 
in addition to being attractive to watch. A small 
amount of seeds and small fruits make up the 
balance of its diet. 



LA HTATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
AC0lJloITI0N3 DEPT 
^FRIALS DIV 
EATON RO'JGE LA 




^■'.":^m 



Louisiana's Most 
Highly Prized 
Game Bird . . . 

The Turkey 

Here is a sight to stir the pulse 
of any hunter — a flock of wild 
turkeys making their way cau- 
tiously through the sparsely 
timbered areas where they feed, 
roost, and nest. 




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